from La casa de la niebla [The House of Fog]

Elena Anníbali

Translated from the Spanish by Jessica Sequeira

I

lord, you gave my brother a red ford falcon
to arrive at the house of fog

and then what

did you tell him?
did you explain to him that the road was cut off?
that the motor was broken?
that everything was broken?
that there was no going back?

what did you do, how
did you convince him

such that he gave you his hand
sat down in the little seat of lies
and let the dark host of your name
reach his mouth

or did you put a stone there?
a coin, a hook,
a piece of paper

from which you silenced him, made him
forget
forget us

what signs could you have made such that instead of coming home
he turned off the motor of the falcon
slipped away from the silky perfection of the leather
the music on the radio
the heated purr of the car
and climbed down with you
to go where

to hunt little birds?
to watch the golden grass dying after the winter fire?
to break the pane of water so that the animals could drink?

or maybe it was summer by then
and you gave him the dangerous water of your sky

charming, that water, yes
so clear, that water, so good
but behind this you know that such water creates more thirst
you buried yourself in the well deeper
and deeper
until you threw dirt on your own back

and not even the constant and powerful angel of the windmills
could save you
no

did you know my brother was going to say yes?
when you saw the dust rise up from the red falcon in the road
didn’t you think of letting him go?

even if, lord, it was because he was total beauty
at that age,
total joy
total
reason for being

II

we planted a tree by the house of fog

in the light the sunflowers turned gold
another day died
another night

the tree grew, put down roots
in the shadows

it modeled its stature with bone

every bird that tried the fruits
drifted into sleepiness
into absence from life

into the radical blindness of the dead

V

no, my house didn’t collapse 
the windows didn’t shake
the spider didn’t even fall out of the poppy of hell

everything came, began from within:
an eye swallowed us

we were or are
the corruptible bread 

for every bone there was a mouth
a tooth
a different hunger

ferocious, the eye chose
the Essential one
the Sweet One
the one that kept singing

we are so sad without him
sometimes there’s nothing to say, you know?
there’s no strength to talk of things from life

but the rains come, at times,
which are calm and make music in the gutters
the rains come from the east to anoint the wound
to make the flowers of flesh grow

the angel prepares the patio

behind the privet, the Sweet One is born again
he tells me: little sister, put your hand
on my heart 

it makes the same sound as the horses,
see?
isn’t it a miracle?

VI

many times we were poor
there was no money for clothes or music, but
the magnificent drill of god
pierced into the morning

the doves scattered
as if they’d seen
the possum or the falcon

a piece of me entered into bitterness
like the pit at the mill
where the snake infected
the drinking water

just a few years old and already i was
entirely old

i knew the supreme one could crush my head
make our sheep ill
take away our summer, the small joy we had

all the same i always looked up
and in a low voice said
yes lord, may the destruction come to me
that must come
i am your furrow, lord,
i am your furrow